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Overdose woman died with ‘no respect’

The parents of a young woman who died in an “overwhelmed” A&E department have said the Government was “complicit” in their daughter’s death. 

Bethany Shipsey, aged 21, died last February after a series of delays and medical errors during treatment at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital near her home in Worcester.

The Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams recorded a conclusion of suicide in death of Bethany Shipsey but added that a series of failings in her care in a busy A&E department amounted to failures in basic medical care.

Miss Shipsey was admitted to A&E in Worcester in February last year following an overdose of DNP diet pills but the coroner could not conclude that she would have survived if she had received the full package of care.

After the conclusion, her parents said they were “very disappointed”.

In a statement read outside the court, they said: “We do not feel that the coroner’s conclusion reflected the evidence that was heard during the inquest.”

They added: “Bethany’s basic human right to life was breached in the very place you would expect it to be preserved.”

The overdose was Miss Shipsey’s 15th, and she was also a mental health outpatient following an abusive previous relationship.

Her mother Carole Shipsey, who is a trained nurse, told Sky News how they counted 27 patients being treated on trolleys in corridors that night.

She said: “There was no communication with us, there was no respect or dignity.

“Bethany literally went in on a trolley that night and she died on a trolley.”

Miss Shipsey had been moved between four different bed spaces within the A&E department during her treatment.

Undated family handout photo of Bethany Shipsey, 21, from Worcester, who died after taking an overdose of online diet pills did not receive appropriate care because the A&E department was too overcrowded, an inquest heard
Image: Bethany Shipsey, 21, from Worcester, who died after taking an overdose of online diet pills

:: Overdose woman Bethany Shipsey died after ‘A&E was overwhelmed’

The first emergency junior doctor to see Beth that night Dr Alireza Niroumand, had never treated a patient who had taken DNP diet pills and then failed to consult the Toxbase service where medics can find appropriate advice.

Mrs Shipsey added: “Even if he was overwhelmed or the hospital was overwhelmed it was essential information that wasn’t read, and if part of it was read it wasn’t acted upon….that started a chain of events that ultimately ended in Beth’s death – it didn’t give her a chance.”

Experts disagreed during the inquest as to whether better treatment could have saved Bethany but medical staff conceded that their department was classed as “overwhelmed” that night.

Senior nurse Kirsty South broke down in tears during her evidence as she described: “one of the most challenging shifts we have ever worked….it would be wrong for me to say that it doesn’t occur regularly.”

Beth’s father Doug told Sky News that the hospital had since admitted to him that there was a “system failure”.

He said: “Since Beth’s death we are hearing more and more deaths attributed to overcrowded and overwhelmed hospitals.

Her mother said she went in on the trolley and she died on the trolley
Image: Her mother said she went in on the trolley and she died on the trolley

“This is the UK, it is not a third world country or a war zone.”

“We need the Government to stop making excuses…..we need them to actually listen to their regulators, we need those regulators to act, the Government to act quicker and sooner and realise that ultimately they are complicit in the serious harm and death that people are succumbing to in Britain’s hospitals.”

The Care Quality Commission currently rates the Worcestershire Royal Hospital as “inadequate” and the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust remains in “special measures”.

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In an earlier statement the Trust said: “This is a tragic case and our condolences are with the family.”

Hospital bosses will respond more fully after the inquest has concluded.

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